Regulators added $1.8 billion in cumulative burdens this week through 13 regulations with quantified costs. Annual benefits were $112 million and regulators published 3.6 million paperwork burden hours. The Department of Interior’s (DOI) proposal on drilling on the outer continental shelf led the week.
Virtually everyone agrees that we need some type of regulatory reform, but understanding current burdens and reform attempts can guide any reform effort. Balanced regulatory reform that retrospectively examines past rules and prospectively evaluates the costs, benefits, and regulatory alternatives is an international standard practice, not a partisan exercise.
The arctic temperatures closed the federal government on Tuesday, and with the holiday-shortened week, regulatory costs remained tame. Total costs were only $72 million, with $15 million in annualized burdens, and $30 million in benefits.
The Dodd-Frank Act, signed into law in 2010, included nearly 400 new financial regulations. Examining every Dodd-Frank regulation reveals $39.2 billion in total costs and 63.7 million paperwork burden hours. But that’s not the entire story.
In the heart of winter, the Department of Energy (DOE) recently released a proposed rule that would set efficiency standards for hearth products, or gas-fueled fireplaces. Also, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is finalizing its rule on heating devices that it proposed during last year’s Polar Vortex.
Regulators added $265 million in total burdens this week. Annualized costs were $98 million, compared to $154 million in benefits. Paperwork burdens accelerated by more than 590,000 hours. Proposed efficiency standards for warm air furnaces led the week.
There are two interesting trends in public policy. The unemployment rate is gradually decreasing, below six percent now, but the labor force participation rate is still historically abysmal. Yet, President Obama’s continued release of pricey new regulations continues to set records. How can so many “job-killing” rules find their way onto the backs of American businesses while the economy steadily improves?
Today, President Obama released his budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2016. As with any administration’s budget, certain fiscal measures foreshadow regulatory priorities. This year’s budgetary roadmap continues aggressive funding of climate change programs, Dodd-Frank implementation, and a new agency to monitor food safety.
Regulatory burdens took off for the first time in 2015, with more than $14 billion in total costs. Regulators also added 289,000 paperwork burden hours and $1.4 billion in annual benefits. Two energy efficiency rules led the week.
The short week produced little in the way of regulatory costs and benefits: just $18 million in costs and 3,200 paperwork burden hours. EPA’s proposed contingency plan for hazardous substances led the week.